Professor of Neurobiology, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences; Professor of Pathology, Feinberg School of Medicine; Associate Director of Center for Sleep and Circadian Biology
The laboratory of Dr. Ravi Allada is interested in the molecular mechanisms underlying circadian rhythms and their links to various clinical disorders, such as insomnia, depression and even cancer. The origins of molecular understanding of human circadian rhythms can be traced to genetic studies in the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. Since the cloning of the first clock gene period in Drosophila in the1980s, the cloning of new fly rhythm genes has led to the discovery of their mammalian counterparts, reflecting their remarkable evolutionary conservation. Indeed, a mutation in a human homolog of Drosophila period is responsible for an inherited sleep disorder, advanced sleep phase syndrome (ASPS). Across evolutionary boundaries, transcriptional feedback loops form the core of circadian pacemakers. Dr. Allada believes the most efficient strategy to identify new components of human circadian feedback loops is through a molecular genetic approach in Drosophila. The wealth of genetic tools and short generation time (~10 days) facilitate high throughput phenotype-driven screens that will be required to decipher the functional significance of the human genome. Current efforts in his laboratory are focused on cloning a novel circadian rhythm mutant as well as the identification of molecular and cellular links between central pacemakers and output genes and behaviors.
Office: Pancoe 2121
Email: r-allada [at] northwestern [dot] edu